Ten is a lot! Let me give you a few.
First: the people. I know there is a saying that every people gets the leadership it deserves. But I think in the Middle East the punishment is way bigger than the sin. There is youth that is keen and eager and capable. There is so much creativity around the place. Just look at the high tech movements in the region. I think there is reason to be optimistic about that.
Then there’s the geography of the place. On the one it hand attracts a lot of trouble, but it’s also a great spot for tourists.
I want to say that the coffee is the best in the world and the hummus is definitely a great reason to be optimistic. No one can produce hummus as good.
This region can be the agricultural basket for the rest of Europe. Israel has proved it time and again that when it’s cold and miserable in the UK and we can’t grow anything, the nicest fruit and vegetables can come from large parts of the Middle East.
“One of the biggest curses – and resources – in the Middle East is oil. When it runs out, maybe we’ll be able to develop normal societies.”
As for the external influences that could prompt some hope in the Middle East, to me it’s like happiness. You can look for happiness externally – but it’s not the real thing. I don’t want to sound like I’m a giving a wishy-washy psychotherapy session. But at the end of the day Middle Eastern people should first and foremost resolve it for themselves. They need to find the strength to change their history from within. They can do with help from the outside. But the idea that the driving force will be an external one isn’t healthy. Every country needs work out its core values. And if someone else attempts to resolve things for you, they will bring you their core values. This is imperialism. This is colonialism.
One of the biggest curses – and resources – of the Middle East is oil. It’s made some countries very rich but it’s also proved to be very problematic. It creates massive inequalities. And I think when it runs out, maybe we’ll be able to develop normal societies. We’ll look at societies in a more organic way instead of something which is top down.